Cultural context of books, was RE: dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #247

Rowland, Jennifer A B jennifer.rowland at
Mon Dec 11 11:37:48 EST 2000

Gili said:
>Has everyone stopped writing, or have I somehow been unsubscribed off the 
>I've just reread "The Ogre Downstairs", 
>Has anyone else noticed that the Greek bits at the end are really English?
>Anyway, I either just discovered this or just rediscovered that the Helmet 
>people at the end of "The Ogre Downstairs" are probably saying:
>"Hit me on the lid again and see what you get!"
>"Think (you can hit?) fellows on the head, do you?"
>"This kid tried to thump me, fellows!"
>"Okay, lets take them both apart a bit"
>"Let me attem"
>"Fulla spirit, aren't they?"
>"Let's go fellows"

We do seem to have gone quiet, don't we?
Ages since I've read the Ogre, but I remember thinking the Greek was
probably English but not working out what it actually said, so this will get
printed out and folded in!
Archer's Goon came!! Can't wait for YotG to get into paperback. (Even for
dwj I can't afford hardback. And my library said months ago that they'd
order it. I don't know where they're ordering it *from*, because there's
certainly no sign of it so far.) My normal method of reading hardbacks, by
standing in the shop and reading half a chapter, and then scurrying on to
another shop and reading on, has suffered from my having to work all day.
(Honestly, some employers have no idea of the truly important things in

Recently I've been reading a book about the cultural context of victorian
literature- the stuff that formed the worldviews of the authors, the
differences between the intellectual environment of someone writing in 1830
and in 1900. this made me think about the outlook of some of my favourite
books. Does anyone think that the feel of dwj's books has changed over the
rapidly-changing 20-odd years she's been writing? Anything that would make
you say "this is earlier", "this is later"? (Beyond mentioning new
inventions/fashions! Though of course this changes the world the characters
react to.) I'm not sure, myself. I think female characters are treated
differently, but I'm not certain of this. How would Dark Lord have been
different if it had been written in 1980? How could one separate a changed
outlook in the author from development in their writing style?

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